The Wise County town of Pound is in a battle over its charter. A bill that cleared the General Assembly this week gives residents until November 2023 to, as its sponsor put it, "clean up their act" or lose their town. Photo by Megan Schnabel.

Overview:

Judges appoint final member to reconstitued council of town one called a 'hot mess.'

Correction, 11 p.m. March 14: George Dean declined to accept an appointment to Pound’s town council. An earlier version of this story was incorrect on that point.

The Pound Town Council is slated to meet Tuesday night with its first quorum since December.

The future of Pound has been the subject of some debate in recent months, as a bill that now awaits the governor’s signature gives the Wise County town until November 2023 to get its affairs in order or lose its charter. 

Map by Robert Lunsford.

The town council has been plagued by infighting, and multiple members resigned last year, leaving the body unable to conduct any official business for months. That strife, as well as problems involving the town’s police department and sewer system, garnered unwanted attention from the General Assembly that led to the legislation.

In the face of the ultimatum from Richmond, a number of residents and local officials mounted an effort to keep the town alive, saying that once the council could again conduct business it could begin to address Pound’s ongoing problems.

Kristin Foley, who bought a house in Pound with her mother after graduating from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, submitted a letter expressing interest in joining the town council. She learned Thursday that she wasn’t chosen. “I just hope that everyone who gets put into these positions is coming in with the hope to do whatever is best,” she said last month. Photo by Megan Schnabel.

Earlier this month, the judges of the 30th Judicial Circuit named three people to fill the vacant seats on the five-person town council: former mayor George Dean, lifelong Pound resident Doris Mullins and business owner Kensleigh Browning. The next day, however, Dean declined the appointment.

In an order filed Monday, the judges appointed Kristin Foley, who moved to Pound in 2017 and had expressed interest in filling one of the vacancies.

The newly reconstituted council, which also includes members Leabern Kennedy and Glenn Cantrell, is scheduled to meet Tuesday. 

Megan Schnabel

Megan Schnabel is a reporter for Cardinal News. Reach her at megan@cardinalnews.org.